Junior boys are falling foul of Wimbledon’s dress code, with Austrian junior Jurij Rodionov becoming the latest to be ordered off court to change his underwear.
Before the coin toss of his boys’ match against Australian Blake Ellis, the No 11 seed had to pull up his shirt so umpire Philip Lodge could inspect his black underwear.
A female supervisor then came out to take a look, and after 18-year-old Rodionov pulled his shorts down a little to reveal the offending underwear, he was sent off the court to change.
Undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white and contain no more than 1cm of coloured trim Wimbledon Rules
The match eventually began, delayed 10 minutes by the kerfuffle.
Wimbledon’s clothing rules state: ‘Undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white and contain no more than 1cm of coloured trim.’
On Wednesday, the top seeds in the boys’ doubles tournament, Zsombor Piros and Wu Yibing, had also turned up to play their first round match wearing the wrong colour underwear.
Piros and Yibing went on court in black underwear, which could apparently be slightly seen through their shorts.
The umpire stepped in to enforce the Wimbledon all-white (including underwear) rule: – Change your underwear please!
Then in Wimbledon’s inimitable way, some fresh, clean, white garments were provided by the All England Club, and the pair were told to leave the court by the umpire and came back on with their new, white undergarments.
Only then they were allowed to play on and, after chucking their black pants into their racquet bags, the pair got back on with the job and secured a 6-4 6-1 victory over Mohamed Ali Bellalouna from Tunisia and Brazil’s Joao Lucas Reis Da Silva.
But back to the boys, who are a round behind in singles due to the rain delay on Tuesday.
In round three Rodionov took three sets to overcome Ellis, 6-3 6-7(11) 6-3, to reach the quarter-finals where he will play the top-seeded Corentin Moutet from France, who dispatched the Italian qualifier, Francesco Forti, 7-5 6-1.
British interest may have been quashed when Aidan McHugh failed to maintain momentum after taking the middle set tie break against France’s Matteo Martineau and lost 6-3 6-7(12) 6-2; and George Loffhagen fell at the hands of America’s Patrick Kypson, 4-6 6-0 8-6.
There is cause for optimism, however, as McHugh, 16, and Loffhagen, 17, are talented and have been making good progress outside of Wimbledon.
McHugh, who is a Scot, who is being mentored by Andy Murray and brother Jamie, has a stylish game with a single-handed backhand; while Loffhagen hails from Ealing, the same London borough in which tennis legend Fred Perry lived.
Mark Petchey, Murray’s former coach, said: “The 2001 age group in the boys seems quite strong and I think there are some pretty solid Under 14 girls, but I think we’ve still probably got a few question marks about how well we’ve performed in that department.”
Patrick Kypson was the only American advancing to Friday’s quarter-finals, having had to save four match points in his three-set win over No 5 seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan on Wednesday, and having another mentally draining match Loffhagen on Thursday after being broken at the very start of the match.
“I came out a little sluggish, legs were a little beat from yesterday after five sets, three in singles and two in doubles, and the singles sets were pretty stressful,” Kypson admitted.
“I had a couple of chances to break back but he was serving pretty well, moving forward, hitting the ball pretty big, so he deserved that first set.”
“I never felt in a bad situation, I never felt he was going to run away with it.
“I felt I would have chances in the second and in the second game I broke him, started playing a lot more aggressive. Once you get that break, you feel you can play a little bit more freely.”
There were no breaks of serve in the decider, but Kypson kept the pressure on the Brit, giving him no break points to look at in seven service games and getting 74 per cent of his first serves in.
“I served really well in the third set,” said Kypson.
“I think we had one deuce game on my serve in the set, maybe two. I had chances to break him, had 0-30 two or three times, 15-30 once, didn’t play the right way on those points until the last game.”
Kypson went up 15-40 with Loffhagen serving to stay in the match at 6-7, but missed a backhand on his first match point.
Playing a British junior at Wimbledon is a unique experience, but the crowd’s support for the 16-year-old didn’t bother Kypson.
“It was pretty wild in the third set,” Kypson said.
“Anytime I missed a ball they went nuts. But actually it doesn’t bother me at all. I expect it, playing on court 12, third round of juniors, for sure they’re going to be cheering for the local guy. I enjoyed it, it was fun.”
Kypson faces unseeded Michael Vrbensky of the Czech Republic, who beat Constantin Bittoun-Kouzmine of France, 6-4 6-4.
Kypson, who said he speaks a little Czech due to his father’s roots in the country, has a 1-0 record against his fellow 17-year-old.
Roehampton champion Axel Geller of Argentina dropped his first set this week to Naoki Tajima of Japan, but came through with a 6-3 3-6 6-1 victory.
Geller takes on unseeded Martineau.
The top seeds in boys doubles were eliminated in Thursday’s second round, with Roehampton champions Sebastian Korda and Colombia’s Nicolas Mejia beating Wu and Zsombor Piros of Hungary, 7-6(2) 4-6 6-4.
No 2 seeds Geller and Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan did advance to Friday’s quarter-finals, as did No 3 seed Rodionov and Vrbensky, who came from a set and a break down to beat Danny Thomas and Vasil Kirkov 3-6 7-5 6-3.
Seeds went down like nine pins on Thursday in the Girls’ Singles, led by top seed Kayla Day in a shock defeat at the hands Ann Li.
She had beaten fellow American in both their previous meetings, but such is the strength in depth of US girls’ tennis right now, that they could still get two girls in the final on Saturday.
Before this week, the 17-year-old Li had not won a match at a junior Grand Slam, but has clearly taken to the grass courts at Wimbledon.
Day is ranked 124 on the WTA Rankings and about to embark on a full-time senior career so she is an impressive scalp for Li, who pulled off a stunning 4-6 6-2 6-1 victory to advance to the semi-finals.
The No 1 seed got an early break in the first set and held on, despite the three break points against her, looking in charge of proceedings and serving four aces in the process.
“I kind of adjusted and I realised where she was going more,” Li said later.
“I returned better, and maybe she didn’t serve as well, but I got an idea of where she was going.”
Li got her first of three second-set breaks to make it 3-1, after Day had led 40-0 in the game, only to hand it back.
Day was broken again to end the set, with backhand errors the primary cause, and after Li saved a break point in the opening game of the third with a backhand winner, the top seed was broken for a fourth straight time, throwing in a double fault at 30-40.
Li, who hit seven winners and made just two unforced errors in the final set, didn’t face a break point the rest of the way, as Day’s errors piled up.
She closed it out without drama on her first match point, when yet another penetrating backhand forced a forehand error from Day.
“Just being around here, knowing that I can stay calm, with all these people and all these distractions, it’s given me a lot of confidence,” Li said.
“I’ve had some good wins and being here is just amazing. I’ve seen Fed twice.”
Li will face unseeded Simona Waltert of Switzerland, who defeated another American, No 14 seed Sofia Sewing, 6-2 3-6 6-3.
Apparently Sofya Lansere took a few steps on the grass at Roehampton before the warm-up event last week and turned to her coach and said: “That’s not me. Let’s go back to Moscow”.
Fortunately for the Russian, her coach insisted that she had the game for grass and persuaded Lansere to stay.
On Court 5 at Wimbledon on Thursday she beat the new junior French Open champion and No 2 seed Whitney Osuigwe, of United States, 7-5 6-3.
Speaking through her coach, Julia Kashevarova, Lansere said: “I think it’s more difficult to do today what Sharapova did [in 2004 when she won the Wimbledon title at the age of 17]. Tennis is more adult-minded now.”
It seems the bathroom break after losing the first set was the turning point in her quarter-final against Day.
“In the first set I didn’t have as much energy as she did – she was yelling ‘come on’ a lot. I took a bathroom break after that, regrouped and came back with a lot more energy and a lot more ‘come ons’.
“I like the grass very much,” she said on reflection after the biggest win of her fledgling career put the 16-year-old in the semi-finals of junior Wimbledon where she will face the new tournament favourite Claire Liu. also of the United States.
Liu, who beat No 6 seed Carson Branstine, 4-6 6-1 6-1, lost her first set during these two weeks of grass court tennis, with the Canadian’s serve being the primary reason.
“Her serve is one of her biggest weapons, and I think it did take me some time to get used to it,” Liu said.
“I was rushing a little too much and she played really well. All of her service games were pretty quick and she played well in the first set.”
“I was pretty nervous and I let my emotions take control of the match too much,” continued Liu.
“In the second set, I buckled down and I told myself if you’re going to lose, lose doing the right thing, leave everything on the court, get one more ball back, make her hit one more shot and I think over time that really helped me.”
“Just being here is amazing – I’ve seen Fed twice! I’ve haven’t spoken to him, I just can’t say anything when I see him.”
Six US girls are still in doubles, including No 2 seeds Liu and Taylor Johnson, who beat Zeel Desai of India and Lulu Sun of Switzerland 7-5 6-0 in the second round.
They will face Mexico’s Maria Portillo Ramirez and Sewing, who beat No 7 seeds Elena Rybakina and Amina Anshba 6-4 6-4.
No 4 seeds City McNally and Osuigwe and No 8 seeds Emilana Arango of Colombia and Ellie Douglas also advanced in straight sets.
Carson Branstine’s quest for a junior doubles Grand Slam continued, as she and Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, the top seeds, beat Waltert and Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland 6-3 6-3.
Complete draws can be found at www.wimbledon.com